Starting to win your own clients effectively always starts with identifying what you want to become known for, i.e. what will be your specialism or niche. This blog post, based on similar conversations with clients who are M&A lawyers, shows you a very simple process to identify your niche. Recently I have been working for 4 lawyers across the world who all are deal makers. For example, M&A, access to finance and also some tax lawyers. They have all started to work with me as they want to increase their deal stream, i.e. the size of their client portfolio. Some are already partners and some are wanting to make partner. If you are a lawyer (or accountant) who is involved in Corporate Finance or M&A, increasing your deal stream always starts with identifying the type of work you want to become known for. Trying to be all things to all people is a quick way to not winning much. Let me quickly explain why. If you want to get referred a deal, this normally means that someone else wouldn’t get the referral. The person who missed out on the deal may have been the person that normally got all the deals. This means, for you to get the deal, you have to have something which makes you a better bet for the referral. This normally means being a specialist or expert in a certain type of deal or a certain type of sector. Given that most of us have been working on the work that comes our way, there is often – at first sight – no real pattern to the type of work we have been doing. Which is why the first thing I do before working with a lawyer who is a deal maker is to get them to review their deal stream for the last 2 years. When you review your deal stream, patterns and trends often become very apparent. It then becomes simple to identify your niche. I.e. look at the patterns for the type of deals coming your way and pick one or two sectors or specialisms which will become your thing. Of course, before you decide on your niche or specialism, it is always worth looking at the potential market place trends and the gaps within your team. The last thing you want to do is compete with an established partner in your team for a certain type of deal or work.
If you are an M&A lawyer or deal maker lawyer, to identify your niche, review your deal stream over the last few years and look for trends or patterns.